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Easter issues challenge to CII over qualifications and risk

Money Portal director of strategy and distribution Alan Eas-ter has challenged the CII to take on the regulatory risk for advice if it genuinely believes exams guarantee adviser competence and quality.

He argues that only firms can realistically decide what makes a good adviser and that is more than qualifications.

Easter says if the CII or its subsidiary organisation the PFS believe qualifications equate to competency, they should take over advisers’ regulatory risk.

He says: “Until qualifications equal competency and the CII and the PFS take the risk for that level of advice, I cannot see how qualifications can determine how good an adviser is.”

Easter stresses that Money Portal supports continuing professional development and additional qualifications but he says qualifications taught in a classroom environment only prove how good a person is at taking exams and do not reflect the adviser’s ability to apply this in practice or their moral standing.

Easter says: “We are not against continuing profess-ional development and are not saying exams are a bad thing but from a commercial perspective, as the owner of a regulated entity, what impact will the qualifications have? Qualifications do not determine how good they are and do not prevent them from giving bad advice.”

CII deputy director general Bob Bullivant says: “This is a misconception of the adviser competency. Competency is made up of knowledge and exams, skills and behaviour of the adviser, standards set by the organisation and the adop-tion of those skills in front of the client. How that knowledge is applied has to be the responsibility of the firm.”

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